Alaska Airlines has unveiled its latest Disney themed aircraft, aptly named ‘Mickey’s Toontown Express,’ which has been inspired by Mickey’s Toontown in Disneyland Park.
The Boeing 737-800, which is now flying routes across Alaska’s network, features Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto, Donald Duck and Daisy Duck, and saw artists spend 400 hours hand-painting the design onto the aircraft exterior.
Take a look at the time lapse showing the painting process below:
According to a release from Alaska Airlines, this is the eighth livery the carrier has created in collaboration with Disneyland Resorts, and will also see a selection of Disney themed activity books and snack packs offered on board, while supplies last.
“It’s heartening how much our Disneyland Resort-themed airplanes spark joy in our guests — young and young at heart. What makes this even more special is the return of Mickey Mouse on an Alaska Airlines plane since he made his debut on our fleet eight years ago,” said Sangita Woerner, Alaska’s senior vice-president of marketing and guest experience.
“Alaska’s long-standing relationship with the Disneyland Resort has helped to create unforgettable experiences for our guests and employees. As a family-friendly airline, it speaks to the care we strive to show everyday with these special touches.”
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A shortlist of potential executives to succeed Disney CEO Bob Iger has surfaced, bringing a few surprises to the search for his replacement.
An unexpected inclusion, according to the list reported by Fox Business, is NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who is currently under contract with the basketball league through 2024.
Kevin Mayer, co-CEO and founder of Candle Media, a U.S. production company, is also on the list. A former Disney executive, Mayer left the company to head up TikTok’s operations in America after Bob Chapek initially succeeded Iger.
Dana Walden, currently the co-chief of Disney Entertainment, has also been listed as one of the possible replacements for Iger. While previous reports indicated a possible succession by Josh D’Amaro, Disney chairman, he was not mentioned in this potential list.
Iger recently reorganized the company, adding a Disney entertainment business unit to be overseen by Walden and Alan Bergman. D’Amaro remains in charge of the third division within the company, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products.
Iger’s reappointment came with the stipulation that he would find his successor before retiring again in two years’ time. Disney has since set up a succession planning committee to help find the executive’s replacement, but there has been no indication of when Iger’s successor will be confirmed.
The first tremors of economic slowdown are beginning to be felt in the travel industry: even though Disney Parks had a record quarter, the overall parent company had a disappointing quarter in its other businesses and is now planning a hiring freeze, job cuts and other expense cuts. As part of that, CNBC reports that in a memo sent by Disney CEO Bob Chapek today, the company is cutting back on business travel as well as travel for events and internal meetings.
From the memo: “In the immediate term, business travel should now be limited to essential trips only. In-person work sessions or offsites requiring travel will need advance approval and review from a member of your executive team (i.e., direct report of the segment chairman or corporate executive officer). As much as possible, these meetings should be conducted virtually. Attendance at conferences and other external events will also be restricted and require approvals from a member of your executive team.”
However, Disney reported weaker than-expected-quarterly earnings in large part due to its streaming business losing $1.47 billion during the period. The company’s recorded $20.2 billion worth of revenue for the fourth quarter. Analysts had projected Disney to generate $21.27 billion of revenue.
Britons will not be able to grab a direct train to Disneyland Paris next summer. High-speed rail operator Eurostar will suspend service between London and the theme park on the outskirts of Paris on June 5, 2023, it told travel agents Wednesday.
Eurostar, which is owned by French rail operator SNCF, said it needs to “focus on our core routes to stabilize our operations” for the decision to suspend trains the European outpost of the Magic Kingdom. The railroad also mentioned financial commitments, and new entry and exit requirements between the UK and EU.
In a bit of good news, Eurostar said it would “review” its operations for 2024, leaving open the door for a possible resumption of train service to Disneyland Paris.
During the first six months of the year, Eurostar said business travel on its core London-Paris route had recovered to 70 percent of 2019 levels without providing exact numbers; it operated roughly 75 percent of its pre-pandemic schedule. SNCF Voyageurs, which includes Eurostar as well as SNCF’s other passenger train services, has reported a strong rebound in passenger numbers on its trains during the first half of the year, particularly from March.
SNCF received approval from European authorities to merge Eurostar and Thalys, which operates high-speed passenger trains in Belgium and the Netherlands, into the new Eurostar Group in March. The new company plans to grow ridership to 30 million people by 2030 from 19 million in 2019.
Private passenger rail operator Brightline is going it alone on a station near Disney World as part of its planned extension from Orlando to Tampa.
The railroad had been working jointly with Disney on a station at Disney Springs that would have served the entertainment company’s parks. However, Disney surprisingly pulled out of the agreement on Monday, telling the Orlando Sentinel that a change to the planned alignment did not “support a Disney Springs station.” The new alignment, which was agreed to earlier this year, includes a stop at the Orange County Convention Center between the Orlando airport and the planned Disney station.
Brightline said Tuesday that it would build “an alternative station … located near the original Disney Springs site, albeit not on Disney-owned land.” It added that the new alignment, which will be jointly built with the Orlando-area rail operator SunRail, would “provide access to the largest economic and employment centers in Central Florida and offer the best opportunity for the success of Brightline and SunRail.”
The Disney station changes come as Brightline prepares to begin running test trains from Miami to Orlando by the end of the year. Passenger service between Florida’s two largest cities is expected to begin early next year.
Brightline ridership between Miami and West Palm Beach in South Florida is running 20 percent ahead of pre-pandemic levels.
Disney isn’t neglecting its theme parks, considered crucial to the company’s bottom line, despite its increased focus on Disney+ and other streaming efforts during the last two years.
Disney will unveil its newest park expansion at the end of May — the Wonders of Xandar Pavilion at Disney World’s Epcot. The attraction is based on Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” film and it features the Guardians of the Galaxy roller coaster. The Wonders of Xandar Pavilion follows other recent additions to Disney theme parks, such as Avengers Campus, which opened in June 2021 and the opening of Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser.
The company is working to complete Tron: Lightcycle Run rollercoaster and is expected to launch the Disney Wish, its newest cruise ship, this summer.
Disney will post its second fiscal quarter results on Wednesday. The company said in February that its domestic theme parks have not seen a significant return from international visitors, who prior to the pandemic, represented roughly 20 percent of its guests. Theme parks typically account for the majority of the revenue of Disney’s park division, which cruises and hotels. Disney’s shares are also down about 30 percent since January.